Motorists are being reminded to respect the law regarding the M62 hard shoulder as a new section of upgraded motorway is opened.
From today (Monday) the hard shoulder between J25 Brighouse and 26 Chain Bar will be in use as an additional lane on a permanent basis.
Further along the motorway, between J26 to J28 near Leeds, the hard shoulder is already used – but only during peak periods, when traffic levels are higher.
It is along this later section where the Highways Agency and West Yorkshire Police have noticed drivers are illegally using the hard shoulder at times when it is not designated for use as an additional lane.
The hard shoulder should only be used as a running lane when a speed limit is displayed above it and signs next to the motorway display the message to use the hard shoulder.
Drivers face a fine and points on their licence if they are caught using it at other times.
Chief Inspector Mark Bowmass, from West Yorkshire Police, said: “We would prefer to see good driving behaviour than impose penalties, but people need to understand that travelling on the hard shoulder when it is not available as a traffic lane is illegal and unsafe.”
Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “Some of the hard shoulder misuse reported could be an honest mistake because drivers are under the impression that the hard shoulder is available to traffic at all times.
“However, I suspect there could also be a lot of wilful ignorance – even if motorists aren’t necessarily aware that they are breaking the law.”
In 2012 the Highways Agency recorded 8,655 incidents of drivers stopping on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency situation.
Some of the reasons given were:
* Stopping to ring for insurance renewal.
* Stopping to take photographs.
* Parents feeding children.
* Stopping to read maps or re-set sat-navs.
* Stopping to pick flowers.